Connect with us

Local News

R-MA Innovation Lab Sparks Creativity

Published

on

R-MA eighth grade student Cecilia Paredes works on a LEGO robot at the R-MA Middle School Innovation Lab.

It is a classroom that is never quiet. Students get up from their seats to obtain supplies, ask each other questions, and look for guidance on the internet. They question, collaborate, cooperate, and create. They identify problems and build solutions. Even during the periods when there are no classes scheduled, students from other classes appear in the doorway in need of various supplies for projects, their faces alight with excitement and their voices eager. This is the R-MA Middle School Innovation Lab.

The lab is the result of the work of many hands, including former R-MA Middle School Principal Derrick Leasure, current Principal Tony Ballard, Craig Campesi of the Technology Department, and Middle School teacher and Innovation Lab keeper Stephanie Wagner, whose enthusiasm is contagious.

The lab is full of various objects that engage the students: Ozobots, Little Bits, Spheroballs, iPads, Lego robots, and 3D printers, just to name a few. As Wagner describes her innovative classroom and its many components, a student wanders in to borrow clay and camera for a “Claymation” production, and before long an entire World History class joins her as they prepare to build chariots out of unusual objects. “They’re not allowed to use the wheels from Legos,” Wagner explains. “Some of them are building the chariots out of popsicle sticks and CDs.”

Wagner explains that the Innovation Lab environment is built on the idea of “constructivism.” “When you make it with your hands, you will remember it forever,” Wagner says. “These students will always remember that Greece and Rome had chariots.”

In addition to providing a place for other teachers to think “outside the box” and assign projects that are more than just poster board presentations, Wagner is teaching a Robotics class and two computer science classes that will become “Makers” classes for the spring semester. Her philosophy of continuous change and engagement for all is evident as she describes how she changes the groups around in the Robotics class every other week. “With different groups, students are given different jobs, and it helps get the quiet, reserved kids engaged,” she explains. For the computer science classes, the students are focusing on coding—and she found a way to challenge them early on, when she had the students create submissions for the Congressional App Challenge.

With a Lego wall, a robotic dog named Chip, TinkerCad programs, and dozens of other avenues for creativity and innovation, R-MA Middle School students are more engaged in their education than ever.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

King Cartoons

Upcoming Events

Sep
23
Sun
11:30 am SPCA’s inaugural CHAIR-ity brunch @ Winchester Country Club
SPCA’s inaugural CHAIR-ity brunch @ Winchester Country Club
Sep 23 @ 11:30 am – 2:30 pm
SPCA’s inaugural CHAIR-ity brunch @ Winchester Country Club
Tickets on sale now for the SPCA’s inaugural CHAIR-ity brunch to be held on Sunday, September 23rd 11:30 AM at the Winchester Country Club. The event features a pet inspired art auction, brunch, and bottomless[...]
3:00 pm Selah Theatre Project presents A... @ Selah Theatre Project
Selah Theatre Project presents A... @ Selah Theatre Project
Sep 23 @ 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Selah Theatre Project presents August Wilson's "Fences" @ Selah Theatre Project
Selah Theatre Project is proud to present August Wilson’s Fences . a Pulitzer Prize and Tony-Award winning modern masterpiece. Fences is the 6th of 10 plays in Wilson’s “Pittsburgh Series” that chronicle the black experience[...]
6:30 pm Annual ceremony at the Monument ... @ Prospect Hill Cemetery
Annual ceremony at the Monument ... @ Prospect Hill Cemetery
Sep 23 @ 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Annual ceremony at the Monument to Mosby's Men @ Prospect Hill Cemetery
The Col. John S. Mosby Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans will conduct the annual ceremony at the Monument to Mosby’s Men, commemorating the September 1864 murders of seven rangers of the 43rd Virginia.[...]
Sep
25
Tue
1:25 pm Fiber Art and Tapestry @ Blue Ridge Arts Council
Fiber Art and Tapestry @ Blue Ridge Arts Council
Sep 25 @ 1:25 pm – 2:25 pm
Fiber Art and Tapestry @ Blue Ridge Arts Council
The Blue Ridge Art Council / Gallery presents “FIBER ART AND TAPESTRY” by Helga Hohn-Heiberg from September 12 until November 2. The reception is planned on October 5th, 5-8 pm.
4:00 pm Drawing Basics Class @ Art in the Valley
Drawing Basics Class @ Art in the Valley
Sep 25 @ 4:00 pm – 6:30 pm
Drawing Basics Class @ Art in the Valley
This class is an introduction to drawing. Learn techniques that will help you build a solid foundation in drawing with artist and instructor Michael Budzisz. We’ll focus on improving skills by practicing contour drawings, line[...]